As much thought as a Game Master pours into developing a good fight with a memorable monster there is perhaps even more planning devoted to how the players will be rewarded should they succeed. Nothing in a good game occurs in a vacuum and this is especially true of the top-tier enemies in a game. There might be negative consequences to defeating a powerful enemy (such as what horror might arise to take its place), but there are also a healthy dose of positive consequences. There might be coins or treasure given beyond whatever the players might have found during their adventure. Somebody of note might even make them knights, or gift them some land. They might even be made minor nobles in recognition of their heroic deeds. These things take careful planning.
Giving away too much loot as a reward can throw a game horribly off balance as the players suddenly have the resources to buy all of the ridiculous things they can dream up. Balancing this out by making the players responsible for an estate (ostensibly an even greater reward, but in reality a money pit to keep the players grounded if done right) can keep the players moving forward albeit at a slower pace. The higher leveled players now have to be mindful of what their peasants and villagers might require and therefore can’t gad about the countryside getting into trouble with such reckless abandon. But where are these lands that are given as rewards? If you carve them out of somebody else’s territory you run the risk of creating hostile neighbors (“Our family worked this manor for four hundred years and along comes this dragon-slaying dickweed and the king gives him half of our barony”). Ideally you have new lands available, perhaps as a result of the players’ actions, with which to reward them. Kill two birds with one stone. Reward the players and at the same time provide management and security for new territories.
Here is the kicker, though. Slothjemia has gotten control over a lot of new land and is in the process of grabbing even more. But only two of the players are Slothjemian, so getting a land grant is out of the question for most of the group. Therefore adjustments must be made. Perhaps a reward delayed as the Fanolanians and Geldenreichers decide how best to reward their own participants. In the meantime let there be honorary knighthoods, cash prizes, and magical goodies to serve as simple rewards for the time being. This story has only closed a chapter. There is a still a lot of tale yet to be unraveled and between now and then there is going to be one heckuva formal celebratory ball. If you thought facing the Ash King was harrowing just wait until you have to jostle an Archduke away from the bean dip while preventing a tipsy Countess from making off with your jewel-encrusted codpiece.